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Unleash Your Bigotry! Become an Idiot!

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 22:17 by Paul Jay in category: News


Europe According to USA

Europe According to Russia

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  1. Saw this some time ago. Love it, particularly the French and German versions.

“War on terror” psychologist gets giant no-bid contract

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 22:08 by Paul Jay in category: News


The Army earlier this year steered a $31 million contract to a psychologist whose work formed the psychological underpinnings of the Bush administration’s torture program.

The Army awarded the “sole source” contract in February to the University of Pennsylvania for resilience training, or teaching soldiers to better cope with the psychological strain of multiple combat tours. The university’s Positive Psychology Center, directed by famed psychologist Martin Seligman, is conducting the resilience training.

Army contracting documents show that nobody else was allowed to bid on the resilience-training contract because “there is only one responsible source due to a unique capability provided, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” And yet, Salon was able to identify resilience training experts at other institutions around the country, including the University of Maryland and the Mayo Clinic. In fact, in 2008 the Marine Corps launched a project with UCLA to conduct resilience training for Marines and their families at nine military bases across the United States and in Okinawa, Japan.

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  1. The article you’re linking to does not, IMO, support applying the label “War on Terror psychologist” to Seligman. He’s got a long record of doing work to understand how people can lead happier lives. Please post more carefully.

Cancer ‘is purely man-made’ say scientists after finding almost no trace of disease in Egyptian mummies

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 21:37 by Paul Jay in category: News


Cancer is a man-made disease fuelled by the excesses of modern life, a study of ancient remains has found.

Tumours were rare until recent times when pollution and poor diet became issues, the review of mummies, fossils and classical literature found.

A greater understanding of its origins could lead to treatments for the disease, which claims more than 150,000 lives a year in the UK.

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  1. The headline says “man-made” but the article implies “prevented by past, healthier lifestyles”. Slight difference. No mention of difference in life expectancy and the fact that most cancer occurs after age, what, 50 or 60? How many pharaos lived to that age? I can’t imagine a peer-reviewed article not addressing that issue as it’s a basic teaching in biostatistics, so presumably they accounted for it.

  2. I call bullshit on the Daily Mail.
    I can clearly remind a few mummies I saw in museums (British, Castello Sforzesco of Milan and Turin Egyptian Museum above all) where the death cause had been attributed to illnesses related to cancer forms, like abnormal growth inside a part of the skull and even lung or bone cancer.

    There is solid proof that even a few dinosaurs died of tumors, still visible in the fossils. The rate of illness is much similar to the one of vertebrates, and has been used to disprove a few misconceptions about the worldwide extinction of the sauri.

  3. The average life expectancy of a Roman citizen during the Empire was 22. How many of those mummies were related to one another through royal houses and may have simply had genetic resistance, or even the limited gene pool of Egyptians during the time of the dynasties? Definitely smacks of sensationalized science.

  4. A citizen’s life expectancy during the Empire was 22? I call bullshit on that! Slaves, maybe. Field and Farm slaves certainly but a citizen was in the upper 50th percentile if he made it to 23?

    I’m not a professional historian nor do I have more than a passing knowledge (and interest) in Roman Times but I’d like to see a source for the 22-year life expectancy figure.

  5. According to Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica, average life expectancy in the roman empire was 28 years.

  6. Life expectancy is only an average of the age when people die. If it was only 22 or 28 in the Roman Empire it may be because of very high child mortality (or any other reason ppl die young) leaving those who actually survive their childhood to live a lot longer than 30 years.

  7. In roman times, if you were in your 40s, you were regarded as a wise man and you could easily be the oldest of your village. In big cities, life expectancy was a little higher, but not much.
    Of course, people in their sixties was not unheard of, but their percentage was around today’s centenarians.

  8. Slightly different coverage here:

    I’d love to see more analysis of the study; if you find any, please post.

  9. More evidence of bullshit in this study:
    “There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer”

    Enter asbestos (naturally occurring in fibrous rocks), long decay uranium isotopes (naturally occurring but rare), radon (common both in rock caves, pyramids and old houses), lead and a lot of other things

  10. Anyone with even the slightest understanding of what cancer actually is will know the story is utter crap. The longer we live and the more diseases we can cure, the higher the risk and prevalence of cancer in modern society, yes. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist a few thousand years ago – or tens of thousands for that matter.
    This item was probably published next to the ‘abducted by an alien’ story. Which, btw, has a higher probability of being true. Pffft.

  11. There’s a metafilter thread, with links to New Scientist and others debunk the claim.

  12. One of the co-authors is backpedaling by calling longer life spans one of the aspects of modern living that results in more cancer. So apparently healthier lives and better health care may be the leading causes of cancer.

WikiLeaks says funding has been blocked after government blacklisting

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 20:45 by Paul Jay in category: News


The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks claims that it has had its funding blocked and that it is the victim of financial warfare by the US government.

Moneybookers, a British-registered internet payment company that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the organisation to say it had closed down its account because it had been put on an official US watchlist and on an Australian government blacklist.

The apparent blacklisting came a few days after the Pentagon publicly expressed its anger at WikiLeaks and its founder, Australian citizen Julian Assange, for obtaining thousands of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, in one of the US army’s biggest leaks of information. The documents caused a sensation when they were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and German magazine Der Spiegel, revealing hitherto unreported civilian casualties.

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  1. Well, I hope this leads to considerably more funding once people find out how to send checks directly to them.

Halliburton wins Exxon contract in Iraq

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 19:02 by Paul Jay in category: News


Oct 14 (Reuters) – Oilfield services company Halliburton Co (HAL.N) said Thursday it received a contract to refurbish wells in southern Iraq by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N).

Under the contract, Halliburton will provide on-site logistics and technical support for both rigless and rig-assisted workovers, a procedure used to increase production from existing wells in Iraq’s West Qurna Phase One field.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton declined to provide additional details.

Mr. Dick Cheney is proud.

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  1. Mission Accomplished indeed!


Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 15:46 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Obama says he became a Christian by choice

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 13:34 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


President Obama said Tuesday that he is a "Christian by choice" and that his decision was influenced by gospel teachings about salvation and the importance of loving one another

Well, there you have it. He admits he’s a follower of the bearded radical from the Middle East.

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  1. LOL – truly.

Bush Still Working On Manned Mission To Mars Quietly In Spare Time

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 13:25 by John Sinteur in category: News


Speaking from his home in Dallas, former president George W. Bush told reporters Tuesday that when he’s not busy giving lectures or writing his memoirs, he spends most of his spare time working on the manned mission to Mars he proposed in January 2004.

“This is genuinely important to me,” said Bush, looking over sketches of potential rocket systems he had drawn up while waiting for his oil to be changed at a service station earlier this week. “I wasn’t kidding when I announced a plan to get us to Mars, by God, and I intend to finish what I started. That’s why I try to carve out a little time before lunch and after dinner to work on this important interplanetary initiative.”

“It’s a big project,” Bush added. “Lots of little details to work out.”

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  1. When I first saw this one in the Onion, I thought it was one of their more implausible articles. After all, when did Bush ever care about the little details?

Did Little Bobby Tables migrate to Sweden?

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 13:14 by John Sinteur in category: Security


As you may have heard, we’ve had a very close election here in Sweden. Today the Swedish Election Authority published the hand written votes. While scanning through them I happened to notice

R;13;Hallands län;80;Halmstad;01;Halmstads västra valkrets;0904;Söndrum 4;pwn DROP TABLE VALJ;1

The second to last field is the actual text on the ballot. Could it be that Little Bobby Tables is all grown up and has migrated to Sweden? Well, it’s probably just a joke but even so it brings questions since an SQL-injection on election data would be very serious.

Someone even tried to get a JavaScript in there:

R;14;Västra Götalands län;80;Göteborg;03;Göteborg, Centrum;0722;Centrum, Övre Johanneberg;(Script src=http://hittepa.webs.com/x.txt);1

I’m pleased to see that they published the list as text and not HTML.

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  1. John, for all the non-programmers out there, what would the lines do?

  2. [Quote]:

    Let’s use a very simple SQL statement that selects a user name from a table. The (poorly-written) application doesn’t do any screening of the input characters. In this case, the user has entered the name “john” into the form field on the page. The application grabs the name “john” from the form field and then uses it in a SQL query like this:

    SELECT * FROM users WHERE user_name = 'john';

    Nothing special about that, right? But what if we added something to the end of “john”, as in the example below (shown underlined).  What if, for example, we typed “john OR ‘a’ = ‘a’” ? The application would grab the data in the form field and use it like this:

    SELECT * FROM users WHERE user_name = 'john' OR 'a'='a';

    If this code was used in an login system it would probably force the selection of a valid username because the evaluation of ‘t’=’t’ is always true. That’s fairly benign, but what about if we went a step further and typed something else into the form field…something malicious?

    SELECT * FROM users WHERE user_name = 'john' ;DROP TABLE users; 

    Whoops. Submit the form and the ‘users’ table disappears into the Big Wastebasket In The Sky.

  3. The second example is hoping that the input from the form is shown on a web page. It would then add some javascript to the web page that is showing the election results.

Archbishop Belgium called AIDS just

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 13:00 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Pastafarian News


Belgian Archbishop André Joseph Leonard sees AIDS as a kind of righteousness.

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  1. So that’s why they pick on children: least likely to have AIDS.

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 11:32 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word "affidavit." Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations about document fraud.

"The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority," said Peter Ticktin, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., lawyer who is defending 3,000 homeowners in foreclosure cases. As part of his work, Ticktin gathered 150 depositions from bank employees who say they signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever laying eyes on them — earning them the name "robo-signers."

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Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 11:30 by John Sinteur in category: News


Gov. Rick Perry approved a $4.5 million award from the state’s technology fund to a company founded by a major campaign donor despite the company’s failure to win the endorsement of a regional screening board, The Dallas Morning News has learned.

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A Tale of 2 Gitmo Opinions

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 11:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality. “When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases. But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but ‘not feasible for prosecution.’ A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court’s electronic docket, Kennedy’s opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government’s case against Uthman.”

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Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 8:41 by John Sinteur in category: Quote

"Somebody threw a book at President Obama. If you’re trying to scare a president by throwing a book at him, you’re one president too late."

–David Letterman

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My car chase

Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 8:39 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

My car chase from Ben Pluimer on Vimeo.


Last year I interviewed for a TV job, and they asked me if I had ever directed or shot car chases. I said yes, went home, shot this, and sent it back to them.

I didn’t get the job.

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Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 7:10 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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  1. Regarding the last two cartoons,

    The satirical magazine “The Onion” posted a brilliant satire some days ago, which hit the nail on the head:



Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 7:09 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself

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  1. Have you seen the series of 180 daily photos of a McD burger on coffee table refusing to develop any mold? (I’m abit skeptical about it, actually but not interested enough to repeat the experiment.)

  2. Yeah, I’ve seen it – and it does indeed need somebody repeating it..